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POST GAME: Blue Jackets 5, Avalanche 2

by Rob Mixer / Columbus Blue Jackets

Kindly step aside, Jeremy Lin – “Camsanity” is all the rage.

In all seriousness, it was a feel-good performance for the Blue Jackets in a 5-2 win over the Colorado Avalanche last night at the Pepsi Center. Fighting for their playoff lives, the Avalanche came out flat in the first period and Columbus jumped at the opportunity to get on the board early. Steve Mason was spectacular between the pipes, turning aside 35 of 37 shots for his team-leading 15th victory of the year.

But the story tonight was Cam Atkinson, the rookie forward who was recalled after the trade deadline as the AHL’s leading goal scorer, and has made a significant impact at the NHL level as the regular season comes to a close. He scored the game’s first goal on a beautiful breakaway move, dekeing to his forehand and beating Semyon Varlamov at 6:35 of the first period. The Avalanche quickly tied the game on David Jones’ 20th of the season at 9:56, set up by a centering feed from Jamie McGinn.

Rick Nash (who scored a pair of goals on the night) gave the Blue Jackets a 2-1 lead late in the first period, following up a shot by Mark Letestu that Varlamov couldn’t corral into his glove. The captain’s team-leading 28th of the season gave Columbus a lead going into the dressing room after 20 minutes, but the Avalanche had an answer early in the second period.

Darryl Boyce was whistled for a high-sticking double minor at 2:30 of the second period, and it took Colorado just eight seconds to tie the game. Paul Stastny drove to the net and batted home a loose puck at 2:38 to make it 2-2, but after that, it was all Columbus. Nash’s second of the game was set up by a brilliant Derick Brassard pass as the Blue Jackets operated on a two-man advantage, making it 3-2 at 6:47 of the third period. Atkinson made it 4-2 on a great individual effort off a turnover at 11:51, and added the empty net, hat-trick goal with 1:04 to play.

Nash’s second tally was the momentum-changer tonight, in large part because of the overwhelming approach the Blue Jackets used on the two-man advantage. Jack Johnson and James Wisniewski were blasting pucks from the back end, and the Columbus forwards flooded the front of the net for second chances. Brassard’s pass to Nash came off a blocked shot that had the Avalanche penalty killers tired and scrambling, and the captain made no mistake in cashing in the game-deciding goal.

RW Cam Atkinson snapped a 12-game goalless skid with the first hat trick of his NHL career tonight. He is the third rookie to record a hat trick in club history. The goals were his third, fourth and fifth of the season and first since Mar. 10 at St. Louis. He has collected 3-4-7 the last five games after being held pointless the previous five games.

LW Rick Nash has points in six of the last seven games after scoring two goals tonight. It marks his fifth multi-goal game of the season. He has collected 4-6-10 during that stretch and has 5-6-11 the last nine games after being held pointless the previous seven outings. He has goals in four of the last eight games and has tallied 12-12-24 in 32 career games against the Avs.

LW Vinny Prospal has points in six of the last eight games after notching a helper on Nash’s first goal. He has 3-4-7 the last eight games, while collecting 6-16-22 the last 31 games after being held to 1-2-3 the previous 16 games. In 21 career games against Colorado, he has 4-10-14.

C Derick Brassard has points in five of the last eight games after recording an assist on Nash’s second goal. He has 1-6-7 the last eight games after being held pointless the previous six games. He has tallied 12-22-34 the last 48 games after opening the season with 2-3-5 the first 24 games. He has notched 4-6-10 in 14 career games against the Avalanche.

vs. New York Islanders
Nationwide Arena | Columbus, Ohio
Saturday, 7 p.m.
TV: FOX Sports Ohio (HD)
Radio: 97.1 The Fan FM &

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